Friday, December 12, 2014

 
THE LILY TECERO CONUNDRUM

The separation from UTB was absolutely necessary to the delivery of opportunity to our youth - or in fact older residents who simply wanted good job training.  Dr. Lily Tecero was the answer to a war declared on TSC by UTB, Tony Martinez, Juliet Garcia and the UT Board of Regents. [Multiple sources out of Austin are saying UT had no idea how bad Tony and Juliet were acting and are trying to find a way to mend fences - but they must do it without outright denouncing Tony and Juliet]

So Dr. Lily Tecero looked the enemies in the face and fought an impossible war against all odds - and won - or did she - she failed to see she was being outflanked by the old guard UTB hold overs who wanted to keep everything exactly as Juliet Garcia created it.

Without Lily Tecero's strong personality TSC would have failed in its rebirth - this is why she was hired. 

Do not get me wrong - mistakes have been made and in large measure because the same personality traits which were needed to save TSC are now undermining her ability to lead.  But why?

A year ago, as I have already documented, I noted the quality of education was not going to change.  TSC decided to follow the lead of most major universities and overuse technology in the instruction process.  Some technology is good - smart boards are important tools in instruction - video conferencing lectures are important - an engineering course they may be offering in Edinburg can be video conferenced to Brownsville thereby allowing the Brownsville students to take the same course without having to travel.  There are tons of good uses for technology in education.  But when you use prewritten courses, tests, and instruction as a substitute for a real professor you will fail.

Everyone was complaining about the costs of books - so they went to ebooks [something I opposed] and now they are complaining about ebooks.  I will not even read a fiction book on a tablet -

I ordered "English Grammar for Dummies" on Amazon for under $13.00.  I am a Prime Member so it ships in two days at no cost.  But at the universities the professors will push books for over a $100 coming from publishers they themselves are trying to get to publish their book.

There are solutions - just no leadership.

If I had a current American Government textbook in a week I could use free non-copy-right links to government sources designed for learning to duplicate the book for free.  As an instructor I could link the free book on my instructor web page.  With instruction from me my students could learn to highlight in the PDF format.  Every chapter could be downloaded to a $99 tablet which the student could use anywhere anytime.  It could be downloaded to a flash memory stick.

Look, if a student cannot figure out how to raise the money for a $99 tablet they are not going to make it anyway at TSC or the university.

BUT HERE IS THE PROBLEM

Dr. Lily Tecero entered a war zone - it took her skills and personality to win the war against UTB, Juliet Garcia and Tony Martinez - it was the trustees who caved to the last minute bait and switch concerning land and buildings presented to the Board by Tony's minions - not Dr. Lily Tecero.

She entered an environment of extreme incompetence - which continues.  Compounding this are two very important factors - given her strong willed personality she will not let go and allow the lower lever administrators do their job - micromanagers cannot lead, even when they are right.  why? - she can see the UTB disaster is still in place and many of these administrators are going to fight tooth and nail to keep the same level of incompetence in place which reigned under Juliet Garcia. 

The second problem is, rather than do their job, the trustees are allowing those who want to keep the Juliet Garcia design in place to go to them and complain endlessly that Dr. Lily Tecero is too involved - and you know what, she is.  But here is the choice - we allow Juliet Garcia to win the war by allowing her method of structure to remain in place - or we send her incompetent hires packing - I favor the latter  -

But I know Brownsville and the TSC Trustees - when they needed someone to face off with UTB, Juliet Garcia and Tony Martinez they loved Dr Lily Tecero's strong willed personality - but now that it is time to clean house of the left over trash from the Juliet Garcia era far too many trustees are interfering and running to defend those who need to go.  This little war between the old guard of Juliet Garcia left overs has created a bad environment for the workers - some are happy with Dr. Lily Tecero's hard nose approach because they know things have to change, and the old guard is not happy.  So now we have the employees taking sides which makes for a bad work environment. 

It also gives TSC a bad reputation which will make recruitment of quality personnel more difficult.  No highly qualified person wants to work at a community college where the trustees ignore the chain of command and work to undermine the President to protect an old ineffective guard. 

MY SOLUTION

The three trustees who are clearly standing with Dr. Lily Tecero need to get her to agree to a nice buy-out of her contract.  TSC is done - The Trustees have done to TSC that which Juliet Garcia never did - they killed it for good.  They failed to understand you hire a president to be president.

I want to be clear about my solution - buying her out is not because of wrongdoing - it is simply accepting the board is too fractured to run an effective community college and a buy out is her best option to save her career in education before this board destroys her reputation beyond repair.

Instead too many of them ignored the chain of command - tried to micromanager her based on the demands of her subordinates while then demanding she resign for micromanaging.  Well had the trustees acted as trustees we would not have this mess.  A president needs to be able to fire everyone who is not doing their job.

I truly want to know why so many of the ineffective instructors who failed at UTB are still teaching at TSC.

Mind you - I agree 100% Dr. Lily Tecero did not have the finesse skills to deal with this group of trustees and the old guard UTB incompetents she inherited.  She was so busy winning the war against UTB, Juliet Garcia and Tony Martinez , she failed to realize she was also fighting a second war against a group of trustees who decided - their way or the highway.  The TSC Board of trustees is too fractured to allow for any president to lead and clean house. 

When you have a strong personality like Dr. Lily Tecero she will try and fix things anyway - but the problem is - a one man army never wins - they lose - they make mistakes because there is no time to oversee everything.  If you do not have good commanders watching your back and executing on your orders it does not matter how good you are - you will fail and thereby lose.

Had she had good commanders and competent trustees the problems facing TSC would not exist.  But when as president of TSC you know trustees are meeting with your commanders and creating dissent your are forced to micromanage because you in effect have no one you can trust.  Micromanagement does not work.

So mistakes were made.  But because of an incompetent Board of Trustees who wanted a strong leader who once she won the war against UTB, Juliet Garcia and Tony Martinez to just roll over and allow them to run TSC, TSC has become too fractured to succeed.  That is not the purpose of a Board of Trustees. 

Given how this town works and how the trustees have acted TSC is doomed.  They will not find a new president who will do what needs to get done.  Anyone who tries to lead will be taken down by the Board - so lets call it a day and see if UT will agree to buy the TSC assets.

We can then set up an agreement with Texas State Technical College in Harlingen, to have busses run every 15 minutes between the Brownsville terminal and Harlingen.  From the way I see it, TSC is a needless financial drain on the taxpayers and it is time we shut its doors.  The trustees are too selfish and narcissistic to allow for a properly managed community college - so lets face facts and simply make an education a real possibility for our Brownsville students by sending them to TSTC.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Like everything in Brownsville, TSC was once a fine institution. Now, it is overwhelmed with the patron system and serves only as a political piñata party for doling out jobs to your friends and relatives, regardless of their lack of qualifications. Viva Mexico!

Anonymous said...

I agree with much of what was said in this piece. I personally believe that President Tercero, however, is not competent to run TSC. It is certainly true that she tries to micromanage most every decision that has to be made, all the way down to assigning office space for faculty. She has no charisma, no leadership skills, and TSC will continue to flounder with her as President. The Board has been a major disappointment also.